A few days ago I came across two tweets by FAFEN, the Free and Fair Elections Network, which is a coalition of 30 NGO’s that observe elections and parliamentary affairs.
Given the political turmoil stemming from overwhelming circumstantial evidence of systematic and widespread electoral fraud in the 2013 General Elections, I felt that I should do my bit and make a small contribution to what is clearly a much broader effort towards strengthening democracy in Pakistan. So, I decided to do as FAFEN were recommending and I wrote an email to the Election Commission. Here is the text of the email. Please feel free to copy it if you want to add to this effort.
9 September 2014
Mr Ishtiak Ahmed Khan
Secretary, Election Commission of Pakistan
GENERAL ELECTIONS 2013
In the light of the ongoing turmoil in Pakistan, the basis of which appears to be firmly rooted in controversy surrounding the 2013 General Elections, I am writing to you today as a concerned citizen to request the Election Commission of Pakistan to play its role.
Sir, I trust you will agree that transparent and unobstructed availability of the record of elections is of primary importance in engendering a sense of confidence in the validity of election results. To this end, the steps taken by the Commission to make information available to the public via its website, including nomination forms, statements of assets & liabilities of candidates, polling schemes, etc. was a positive and constructive step for which the Commission deserves credit and commendation.
However, sir, permit me to say that it is unfortunate and disappointing to me (and to many other concerned citizens) that the documents that are the backbone of all election results, i.e. the Forms XIV, XV, XVI and XVII that are required to be compiled and submitted to the Commission by concerned election officials under Sections 24, 25, 26 & 28 of the The Representation Of The People (Conduct Of Election) Rules 1977, have not yet been published on the Commission’s website or made public by other means.
I strongly urge the Commission to immediately publish the Forms XIV, XV, XVI and XVII related to the 2013 General Elections and subsequent bye-election for all constituencies of the National Assembly and all the Provincial Assemblies on your website in the interest of transparency and to enable the people of Pakistan to make up their own minds among all the information, misinformation and disinformation that is being presented to us on a daily basis.
This will, sir, be a significant contribution by the Election Commission of Pakistan in helping our nation along the journey that we have embarked upon to strengthen democracy and independent institutions and regulatory bodies, such as the Commission itself.
I am sincerely grateful for your time and attention to this matter.
A citizen of Pakistan